Category: Foraging

Why should people learn to forage?

Why should people learn to forage?

Wild food foraging

I have been asked this a lot lately. I have tossed this question around in my mind, thought about the positive and the negative views of foraging, the realistic need for survival skills, the idealistic romantic dreams of gathering your own wild food and the sustainable issues in between. So far, I have come up with this.

I think there are two parts to this question – 1. Why should people LEARN to forage and 2. Why should people learn to FORAGE

The first question is as important as the second.

Its is a skill that you have to learn by the physical act of learning from someone with experience, it’s not just a skill you can learn off the internet or read in a book. The tradition of passing down the knowledge of foraging is rare in our modern-day world, yet for most of our human existence we have sustained ourselves through this skill. Without learning, foraging can be deadly dangerous – if you can’t positively ID the plant you want to forage, you could get seriously poisoned. Since the rising trend of foraging, there have been numerous cases of food poisoning and even deaths. You have to know what time of year to harvest, what part of the plant to eat, how much to pick and how exactly to prepare it. Where you are foraging from is very important as you are not allowed to forage on private land or nature reserves, and should be aware of pollutants. Sustainability plays a huge role when foraging become fashionable. Lets face it, if everyone started foraging again, it would be detrimental to our environment by threatening its biodiversity and by unintentional disturbance to its ecosystem. That’s why we encourage people on our foraging courses to plant indigenous edibles into their gardens for a more sustainable and practical solution : backyard foraging. Our indigenous plants are more suited to this harsh African climate than regular fruit and veg anyway and should definitely be included into all food gardens. A lot of our Indigenous berry bushes and fruit trees make great security hedges and windbreaks and the wide variety of perennial wild herbs are pretty much maintenance-free once established.

Indigenous herbs

The second question is a bit more personal…why do I think people should forage once they have learnt?

Its delicious, its nutritious, it’s a free form of clean, organic local food. I love the different range of wild flavours, the excitement as the season finally nears a favourite wild edibles time for harvesting, experimenting with new recipes and the delight in others enjoying the meal. Plant study is an ongoing love affair that never ends – the more you learn, the more there is to learn. There are so many wonderful stories, myths and muthi, power and traditions, behind our plants. Its empowering to have the knowledge to be able to feed yourself. It’s a joyous celebration of connecting with nature, understanding the seasons, being in touch with the tides and the moon phases. It’s a wonderful gift to be able to teach your children. Its indigenous food revival!

Foraged lunch at Good Hope Gardens Nursery

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Forage Harvest feast – August

This weekend we held one of the last Forage Harvest Feast fynbos forages of the season with amazing people, beautiful weather and delicious food.

Reconnecting with our food and gaining knowledge about our edible Indigenous landscape evoked interesting conversation that flowed around the like minded crowd.

Coleonema oatcakes and Salvia goats cheese

Coleonema “confetti bush” oatcakes and Salvia goats cheese

Buchu brandy

Buchu brandy

The forage classrooms table

The forage classroom.

Forage Harvest Feast

Washing and sorting the forage and harvested goods.

Edible flowers

Edible flower power.

Forage and Harvest course

Sorting the harvest.

Reconnecting to your food

Slow Food – the sweet life.

Wild herb cheeses

Wild herb cheeses

CWild food community meals

Making rainbow salads.

Wild garlic rolls

Wild garlic rolls.

Cooking lunch at Forage Harvest Feast

Cooking up a storm.

Wild food Feast

Feast!

Honeybush and lemon Pelargonium cupcakes

Honeybush and lemon Pelargonium cupcakes.

If you would like to join us on our last Forage Harvest Feast of the season, or bring your kids to join our Kids Forage and Harvest mornings, contact us soon as spaces are filling up quickly.

Forage Harvest Feast

September the 13th – Saturday from 10am-2pm

Kids Forage and Harvest mornings

Saturday 27th of September 10am – 12pm PIZZA
Monday  29th of September 2pm – 4pm PIZZA
Thursday 2nd of October 2pm – 4pm SCONES
Saturday 4th of October 10am – 12pm SCONES

For more info and to book please email roushanna@hotmail.com

 

Wild Food on the West Coast

With dreams of long, sweet, left-handed rides down the point, we headed up the West Coast one weekend with a bakkie full of surfboards and a sparkle in our eyes.

But fate was not on our side and there was no swell to be found in Elands Bay. On our walks to the beach for the ever-hopeful surf report, we spotted many wild edibles growing along the road.

Mesembryanthemum crystallinumIce Plant – Mesembryanthemum crystallinum

Trachyandra falcataVeldkool – Trachyandra falcata

Tetragonia decumbensDune spinach – Tetragonia decumbens

Inspired by the local wild food, we were delighted to secure a Sunday lunch booking at Oep ve Koep.

On our way to Paternoster, millions of bright yellow Oxalis flowers greeted us from both sides of the road as far as the eye could see.

Oxalis pes capraeSuring – Oxalis pes-caprae

Hungry, late and apologetic – we entered Die Winkel op Paternoster. For people who love farm products and wild food, we Had Arrived. We were served with the most amazing meal – the freshness, the detail, the involuntary roll of our eyes with each mouthful.

Wow.

Thank you Kobus van der Merwe – you are a wild food gastronomy alchemist.

Menu at Oep ve KoepUm….one of everything please.

OystersOysters with apple, wild sage flowers, wild fennel, ice plant and sea lettuce.

Chenopodium chapatisImifino chapatis with pickled veldkool and yoghurt.

Shoreline soupShoreline soup.

White fish pickle, Ice plant, citrus and fennel .Ice plant, white fish pickle, fennel and citrus.

Farm breadFarm bread and fresh herbs.

Farm butter, fish pate and orange preserve

Farm butter, fish pate and preserved orange.

DSCF6700

 Springbok, limpets, heerenboon, winter greens.

carrot bobotie

Carrot bobotie, pomegranate pilaf, peach mebos.

Come on, really now. Isn’t that just the best thing you have ever seen?

Seduced by the charm of the sleepy fishing village, we decided to stay the night and explore a bit. We went to the beach, for lots of walks and of course, to the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve.

Paternoster beach

Paternoster beach

Dimorphotheca pluvialis

Dimorphotheca pluvialis in white blossom.

Cape Columbine lighthouse

The Cape Columbine lighthouse.

And all around us…winter greens. A veritable landscape of food.

Wild asparagus

Wild asparagus

Veldkool

Veldkool.

Chrysanthemoides incana

Chrysanthemoides incana.

Malva

Pretty Mallow.

Wild sage

Wild sage.

What beautiful and tasty biodiversity we have in our country. Hand in hand with sustainable harvesting, food security has a fragrant light at the end of South Africas wild food tunnel.

Rise up Indigenous food revival – you are delicious!

Forage Harvest Feast

A few weeks ago we had our first Forage Harvest Feast of the season.

It was cold, wet and delicious.

We had a very interesting crowd, including the talented Kate Higgs, who joined us with her magic photography skills.

Here is a little bit of what we got up to…

Peppermint PelargoniumPelargonium tomentosum

Foraging toolsTools

Urban hunter gathererThe Urban Hunter Gatherer digging up some wild garlic – Tulbaghia violacea.

Medicinal Indigeous plantsDescribing medicinal uses for sour fig – Carpobrotus edulis.

VeldkoolVeldkool season – Trachyandra.

Forage Harvest Feast

A sensory experience.

City of EdenAnna Shevel of The City of Eden with her basket of goods.

Wild foodGood Hope honey and raw wild berry jam

Organic vegOrganic veg.

Foaging course Cape TownWashing and chatting.

Foraged ingredientsA foraged herb basket.

Table Bay Hotel chefsChefs from the Table Bay Hotel having fun and chopping up a storm

Wild greens pestoThe Pesto Queen

Forage Harvest FeastFrom bush to table…

Centre for Optimal HealthFeast!

Pelargonium and HoneybushcupcakesPelargonium and Honeybush cupcakes.

Fynbos Foraging courseIf you would like to join us for a Forage Harvest Feast, here are the upcoming course dates:

Saturday the 16th of August, 10am – 2pm FULLY BOOKED

Saturday the 30th of August, 10am – 2pm

Saturday the 4th of October, 10am – 2pm

To book or for more info email roushanna@hotmail.com

 

Incredible edible adventure

This is a story about an edible landscape. Of our origins. Of our relationship with the sea. I’ll try and get my facts straight, but I am very caught up in the romance of it all…

Once upon a time, long long ago – between 123,000 and 195,000 years ago – the world went through a harsh climate change. A great Ice Age wiped out all human existence.

Wait. What?

All human existence?

No.

Because at the tip of dry and arid Africa, along a little strip of the Southern coast, there was a small group of about 600-700 people living, surviving and thriving on the indigenous edibles around them.

This would help explain the fact that humans have less genetic diversity than other species, which initially sparked the idea for researchers that humans were once reduced to a small population.

In this cold glacial period, ice sheets covered large parts of the earth lowering the sea level. There were intermittent warm periods where the sea level rose again, and this is when the Pinnacle Point caves in Mossel Bay were inhabited. In colder times when the sea receded, other caves were used which are now covered by the sea.

These Palaeolithic ancestors of ours lived in caves about 2-5kms from the sea. They were sustained by a unique, stable diet of nutrient rich shellfish full of Omega-3 fatty acids foraged from the intertidal rock pools as well as plant food from the abundant vegetation around them. Protein came from the land animals they could catch, but more importantly they had a steady supply of shellfish including brown mussels, periwinkles, alikreukel, abalone and the occasional beached whale. Carbohydrates came in the form of various underground tubers, roots, corms and bulbs foraged in the veld.

Fascinating research by an international team headed by palaeoanthropologist Curtis Marean from the Institute of Human Origins of the Arizona State University, show that this is where Early Modern Man evolved. Professor Marean says: “We found that the people who lived in the Caves approximately 164,000 years ago were systematically harvesting shellfish from the coast; that they were using complex bladelet technology to produce complex tools; and that they regularly used ochre as pigments for symboling. This is some of the earliest evidence for modern human behaviour.”

This year the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University at the George Campus hosted 35 scientist at the Palaeoscape 2014 Symposium. Organised by distinguished Professor Richard Cowling of the botany department at the NMMU, there were many speakers including Professor Curtis Marean, Professor Tim Noakes of the Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Cape Town and human ecologist Jan de Vynck.

So we were honoured, very excited and a little nervous when we were invited to cater for the opening dinner of this Symposium. One warm and clear Saturday morning, we began our wild food adventure. Led by the amazingly knowledgeable Jan de Vynck, we foraged for Indigenous edibles plants, snorkeled off the harbour and collected shellfish from the sea. It also happened to be hunting season, but unfortunately we had left our rock hunting tools at home (joke), so we bought some excellent Kudu and Ostrich steaks at the local butchery.

Please note that this was a purely scientific research exercise. The underground roots and corms that we found are not sustainable forms of foraging, they grow in some of the most endangered coastal zones already under threat due to urbanization and these plants in the wild should be preserved.

Here is a photo diary of our incredible edible adventure.

A HUGE thanks to Ranald McKechnie, Rayne Eaton, Martina Polly, Jamie Keenan and Tom Gray for being my foraging/surfing/catering/adventure crew.

FORAGING

Strandveld foraging

Digging for tubers

Strandveld foraging

The crew

Strandveld foraging

Ren finds a beauty – Pelargonium lobatum

Wild food foraging

To the coast

Wild food catering

Trachyandra divaricata

Underground edible corms

Ferraria crispa

Urban foraging

Urban foraging for wild cress

Coastal foraging

Alikreukel and periwinkles

Coastal foragingTalking shop

PREP

Alikreukel and periwinkles

Shellfish ready to be steamed

AAAAAH!likreukel

Aaaaahlikreukel guts!

Trachyandra falcata

Trachyandra divaricata flower buds

Strelitia seed flour

Strelitzia nicolai seed flour

Wild food catering

Wild greens

Indigenous edibles

Ferraria crispa and Dasispermum suffruticosum

Wild food chefs

Wild food chefs – that’s how we roll.

Streltia seed and wild garlic rolls

Creating Strelitzia nicolai seed and Tulbaghia violacea rolls

Chef Ranald

Trimming the Tetragona decumbens

FOOD

Oxalis mayo

Oxalis pes-caprae mayonnaise

wild food catering

Pizza with Ostrich, wild cress, goats cheese, Emex australis pesto and Pelargonium lobatum shavings

Indigenous edibles

Salvia africana-lutea infused Ferraria crispa on a bed of wild cress

Alikreukels

Alikreukels with Dasispermum suffruticosum on a bed of steamed Trachyandra, Sarcocornia and Tetragonia with Porphyra capensis seaweed butter

Wild food catering

Preserved green Searsia glauca berries on the right

Periwinkles

Periwinkles in a Tulbaghia violacea sauce

Sersia glauca berries - edibleKudu in a Searsia glauca berry sauce on a bed of wild cress

Pelargonium lobatum

Pelargonium tubers on show

Phorphyra capensis seaweed butter

Wild Atlantic Nori butter – Porphyra capensis

Strelitia nicolai seeds

Strelitzia nicolai seed and Tulbaghia violacea rolls

Honeybush cupcakes

Honeybush cupcakes with cream, wild berry jam and Carissa macrocarpa berries

How to eat a periwinkle

Explaining how to eat the periwinkles

Wild food catering

Describing the methods of cooking

Wild food catering

Botany jokes

The queue at the wild food catering at NMMU

Queue for dinner

Wild Food Catering

The feast!

We hope you enjoyed this. We had so much fun creating this dinner, from forage to finish. Our relationship with the sea and veld blooms in our continual wild food experimentation which always turns into a social occasion or educational experience. Either way is usually delicious.

For more info on our wild food catering, sustainable Coastal foraging and Forage Harvest Feast courses, email roushanna@hotmail.com

Hashtag farmlife

Winter is alive.

The squelch of mud under your gumboots, the soft touch of rain on your face, the warmth of a fire in the evening. Dams filling up, rivers flowing, crisp winter greens.Bright copper kettles with warm woolen mittens. You get the idea.

Have you ever seen a sheep shake off rain like a dog does? Its brilliant. The sheep-shake is the new essence of winter for me. That and spinning wool by the fire. The smell of lanolin as I peddle barefoot. 2000 and what did you say?

We might be hippies but we like to think we are hip. We know about things like hashtags and pinterest and instagram.

Here are some photos of #farmlife #capepoint #goodhopegardens

Bee collecting pollen on an AloeBusy bee collecting pollen from an Aloe flower.

PeasWinter peas

Angulare tortoiseAngulare tortoise enjoying a little bit of sunshine.

Baboons ate the carrotsRaided by the baboons

PigsFeeding raided carrot tops to the pigs.

Happy carrotsBut not all of them were eaten. Happiness.

SheepShepherdesses

GoatThis goat. Always reaching for those goals.

Chilli seedsSeed saving – Chilli’s.

And of course, winter brings weeds. Weeds, weeds, weeds.

They have popped up all over our gardens, jostling for position in-between our flowers and veg. There is a cute saying that goes

Weeds – If you cant beat them, eat them.

Many weeds are edible, but you must be able to identify them correctly before attempting any wild weedy snacks as there are also many poisonous ones out there. Two good ones to start with would be Marog or Imfino – our local Lambsquarters and family of the Amaranth, and of course Urtica dioica the stinging Nettle.

Wild greens - marogo and nettle

Nettles are a mega nutrient high superfood. Its best to wear gloves when picking them and if you put them in a bowl and pour hot water over them, the stinging properties go away, leaving you to handle them freely. Marog comes in many different varieties, ranging from red through to dark green. You get a small grained, big leafed variety whose leaves you can use like spinach or a big grained, small leaf variety whose seeds can be used as a grain. Here is my Winter Greens soup recipe which include both of these weeds:

Winter Greens soup

INGREDIENTS:
1 tbs olive oil
2 onions with their greens, chopped
2 tbs chopped wild garlic leaves
2 cups of chopped spinach
2 cups of chopped nettles
2 cups of chopped marog leaves
a handful of white rice, amaranth or quinoa
1 litre of veg stock
Salt and pepper
Plain yoghurt or cream to drizzle over each bowl
METHOD:
Cook the onions and garlic over a medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add the rice, stir, cover with a lid and turn the heat down and cook for about 15 mins. Add the stock and the greens and cook for a further 15 mins. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot and drizzle the yoghurt or cream over each and garnish with a sprig of herbs.

Wild greens soup

You can enjoy this soup along with many other delicious wild food dishes at our Forage Harvest and Feast courses starting up again at the end of July.

FORAGE HARVEST FEAST
Fynbos Foraging Course
This half day course takes place in and around the Good Hope Gardens Nursery in Cape Point
Each course is different according to seasonality and availability in the gardens and the Fynbos. Explore the gardens, discover and pick edible floral foods and fresh organic vegetables. Learn about indigenous edibles, and how to utilize them in your kitchen, how to grow them in your garden and their medicinal properties. Notes and recipes on the plants that we use in the meal will be provided.
You will enjoy wild food snacks and drinks, a delicious meal shared by the group made from ingredients that we will forage and harvest along the way and end with a decadent wild desert, Fynbos tea and Buchu brandy.

Email roushanna@hotmail for more details.